It’s Cinco de Mayo baby!! So grab a tortilla, pile up some of this melt-in-your-mouth caramelized shredded pork, a smear of sour cream, tangy fruit salsa and get the party (in your mouth) started!
So somehow it’s Friday?! Not sure where the week went, but in typical end-of-the-school year fashion, we’re over-scheduled, over-tired and under-motivated. And then we realized that in the midst of a very over-planned spring, it’s looking like we have a semi-free weekend.
Because, come on, we have kids. And kids have stuff. All. The. Time. Except this weekend we have rain, which means canceled games. I’m not thrilled about a game getting canceled because of course it will be rescheduled, making late May/early June utter madness. And, believe it or not, I’ve actually come to enjoy watching middle school baseball. (I still don’t quite believe it.) But then again my favorite sport to watch on TV is golf, so, yeah not too surprising.
Of course the games are always more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by like-minded parents in the stands. Ones that don’t treat it like the major leagues, have a sense of humor about the game, even while cringing a little when their kid is at the plate. I know I can barely breathe until I hear the crack of the bat.
But, it’s not looking like baseball is in the cards (pun intended) for us this rainy weekend. Aaaannddd…it happens to be Cinco de Mayo today!! So guess what that means folks? We can cut a little loose and not have to regret it too much tomorrow. We can enjoy margaritas, palomas and micheladas. We can indulge in big plates of nachos piled with guac and cheese on top of salty tortilla chips. And just maybe we’ll have a little extra time to slow roast a pork shoulder to make these super tender, crispy-edged carnitas.
Now these carnitas do take a little pre-planning. They take a good two hours start to finish, but rest assured most of that is hands-free time. Which, lucky you, leaves your hands plenty of time to squeeze limes for those margaritas. And while you’re busy squeezing, those chunks of pork shoulder are roasting into melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Once the pork pulls apart with ease, I recommend shredding the pork and then popping it back in the oven to get all crispy and caramelized. Oh. My. God.
Because the pork has so much texture and flavor, I like to keep the toppings simple. A fresh, bright fruit salsa, a smear of sour cream and if you like the heat (like me) a few slices of jalapeño. I throw the corn tortillas right over the flame on the gas stove to get a little char, then load them up and dig in.
So bring on the rain and the tequila and a big pile of carnitas! Cheers to Cinco de Mayo!
- Pork Carnitas
- 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into about 10 pieces
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp drilled oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- Pineapple Mango Salsa
- 1 mango cored and diced small
- 1 cup fresh pineapple diced small
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- corn tortillas warmed over a flame or in the microwave
- sliced jalapeños
- sour cream
Pork Carnitas: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven (I like an enameled dutch oven) heat the oil until hot, but not smoking.
Season the pork well with salt and pepper and add the pieces of pork shoulder to the pot (do this in two batches if necessary so as not to overcrowd the pan) and brown well on all sides, about 30 mins.
Remove the pork to a plate and drain off all the fat except for 1 Tbsp.
Return the pot to the burner and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté 3-4 mins .
Add the garlic and sauté about 2-3 mins more.
Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin and cinnamon and toast the spices until fragrant, 1-2 mins.
Add the vinegar and stock and stir well. Return the pork to the pot and arrange in a single layer. The meat should be about 2/3 submerged. Add a little more stock if necessary.
Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, uncovered. Then put the pot into the oven and roast for about an hour, turning the pork occasionally. Add a little water to the pan if it becomes too dry.
Once the pork is very tender and pulls apart easily, remove the pan from the oven and shred it with two forks. Return the pan to oven and roast until the pork carmelizes and the ends become browned and crunchy, about 15 – 30 mins.
Remove from the oven and serve with warmed tortillas, pineapple mango salsa, sliced jalapeños and sour cream.
Pineapple Mango Salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss together.